Top 8 Language Learning Apps iPad

It’s that time of year again! When you pack your back for your long awaited summer vacation, and have hastily stuffed a few relevant language learning apps on your mobile or tablet with the intent of picking up some words while on the plane over! To most tourists, picking up words to use when they travel abroad is something of an afterthought, almost as though it had no real importance and is something that can be enjoyed at leisure. Learning a new language is something that shouldn’t taken so lightly, since it can really make the difference between a good and bad holiday, and fortunately there are a bunch of apps out there that are designed to help you in that learning process. These aren’t the kind of emergency translation apps that will help you out in a language barrier jam, but concise educational apps that help make the process of learning a language a whole lot more engaging and inventive. Check out our favorites, and suggest some in the comments section below!

8. Brainscape (Free)

Let’s start out with a developer that seems to be attempting to cover just about the entirety of the educational category on iTunes: Brainscape, whose apps range from learning a new language to brushing up on geography, astrology and a whole lot more. There are different Brainscape apps depending on what you want to learn, and also what language you want to learn. We tried one or two of their language apps, and really enjoyed ourselves. The most fun part definitely came with their app for learning Mandarin or Chinese, where you actually have to draw the different symbols of the alphabet! – Download from iTunes

7. MindSnacks (Free)

Mindsnacks basically takes the idea of small and rewarding games and then applies this to language learning so that what you almost have is a trivia app with a single purpose. On iTunes, you can find a range of different Mindsnacks apps for learning Spanish, French, German and even Japanese, each with their own set of games that in turn each focus on a specific component of learning a new language, such as getting your head around its structure or – for languages such as Italian and French, working with the gender of different words. It’s claimed that many of these games are designed by Ivy League professors, but I suppose it’s up to you whether to believe that or not! – Download from iTunes

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6. Living Language (Free)

Living Language have a great deal to offer the world of mobile language learning, with courses in around 25 different languages and of various lengths and difficulties. The lessons also tend to evolve depending on what stage you are at as a pupil, meaning that those for beginners will focus on flash cards for learning new words and phrases – perfect for tourists – whereas the more advances lessons involve more answering questions and writing answers. These answers are then reviewed by the native speakers that use Living Language, so you can be sure you are getting it right. This is really the beauty with these kind of social language learning apps: the fact that everyone is connected, and you are in contact with a crowd of native speakers, which is obviously completely unlike the process of learning from some dusty book! – Download from iTunes

5. Busuu (Free)

Busuu is another very useful language learning app, and perhaps its best feature – at least in my opinion – is the fact that you can download different learning activities for later offline use. This can be particularly great if you are – like many – traveling while learning, since you may be on a plane or in a place without a 3G connection and as such cannot access web based services. The app alternates between different aspects of learning a new language so as to ensure that students will pick up vocabulary as well as understanding the grammar of a new language. It also represents a very visual approach to language learning, which can be a whole lot more engaging than other, more traditional methods, especially among younger users. – Download from iTunes

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4. Rosetta Stone (Free)

Rosetta Course from Rosetta Stone and their language learning app is in many ways to benchmark when it comes to learning a new language on your desktop computer, and this easily translates (no pun intended) to the iPad, too. Unlike apps like Duolingo, the Rosetta Stone desktop software is not free, but once you have invested you can then sync your progress across the different platforms on which these apps are available, meaning that you can pick up your lessons no matter where you are and what platform you are using. – Download from iTunes

3. Babbel (Free)

Babbel is one language learning app tha tries to do it all, bringing a range of languages (14 in all, at the time of writing) for you to try your hand at learning. It is commonly referred to as the “most powerful” among language learning apps (the words of the New York Times, no less) and is great across different platforms having recently been updatde to work with the Apple Watch, too. You can even put your pronunciation to the test with the app’s speech recognition technology to be sure that you will be understood when finally taking your new abilities out into the world and speaking with people. – Download from iTunes

2. Duolingo (Free)

Duolingo is undoubtedly the big name when it comes to language learning apps, whether on your tablet or your mobile device. But why has Duolingo become the main choice for many who are looking to learn a new language before setting out on a trip abroad? Well, quite simply it’s down to the process that the app uses: a so-called “gamification”, if you will, of the learning process in order to make it more rewarding for the user. Even our favorite forms of social media these days seem to take the form of games (Twitter, for one) so it makes sense that this would make an excellent framework for a language learning app, and Duolingo proves this. Aside from this honed idea of rewarding users who are doing well and punishing those who are doing badly, the best thing about Duolingo is definitely the fact that it’s entirely free across all platforms! – Download from iTunes

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1. Memrise (Free)

Another very visual approach to the process of learning a new language is offered by Memrise, which takes an entirely new angle and as a result comes up with something that is wholly engaging and almost addictive. Basically, the idea is that the app comes up with so-called “mems” that can be then used to test your progress, which are mnemonic flashcards created by users that use humor and imagination in order put something in your head and make it stay there, while at the same time keeping the whole process enjoyable. This is particularly useful when it comes to learning new words! The upside is that you can create your own mems to add to the pile; the downside being that this user generated content can sometimes suffer in quality. – Download from iTunes

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